2 New LDL Cholesterol Genes Found
Genes Affect Levels of LDL "Bad" Cholesterol, Study Shows
Feb. 7, 2008 -- An international team of scientists today announced its
discovery of two genes that affect LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels.
Those genes might make good targets for new drugs that lower LDL cholesterol, the researchers
Meanwhile, here's what you can do about your cholesterol while scientists
put together pieces of the puzzle:
- See where you stand. If you don't know your cholesterol levels, all
it takes is a simple blood test.
- Learn the goals. Ideally, total cholesterol should be below 200
mg/dL, LDL cholesterol below 100 mg/dL, and HDL
("good") cholesterol 60 mg/dL and above.
- Make a plan. A healthy diet, an active lifestyle, and
medications (if needed) can make a big difference in your cholesterol levels.
Talk to your doctor to interpret and improve your cholesterol numbers.
(Do you have family
members with high cholesterol? Talk about it on WebMD's Cholesterol
Support Group board.)
LDL Cholesterol Genes
The new cholesterol genes were found by researchers including Manjinder
Sandhu, PhD, of England's University of Cambridge.
They studied DNA from more than 11,600 people in five studies. Two
neighboring locations on a certain chromosome (chromosome 1p13.3) were linked
to LDL cholesterol levels.
One of those locations is close to the PSRC1 gene. The other is close to the
CELSR2 gene. Neither has been linked to lipid levels before.
That same stretch of chromosome 1p13.3 affects the odds of developing
coronary artery disease, note Sandhu and colleagues.
But if your LDL cholesterol is too high, don't blame it just on those two
Many genes are involved in LDL cholesterol. The two newfound genes only
account for about 1% of the variation in LDL levels among study participants.
And cholesterol isn't just about genes; diet and exercise also make a
Sandhu's team only had access to DNA samples from people of European
descent. More diverse studies are needed, notes editorialist Ronald Krauss,
Krauss works at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute in Oakland,
The study and editorial appear in the Feb. 9 edition of The